Senators News: January 25th

-Ottawa plays Tampa Bay (2-1-0) tonight; the Lightning are lead by the trio of Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, and Cory Conacher (5 points each) and backstopped by Anders Lindback (1-1-0 3.50 .905).  Here’s the NHL’s preview.

-There are a number of lineup changes for the Sens ahead of tonight’s game: Ben Bishop gets the start, Mark Borowiecki will play instead of Patrick Wiercioch (who was largely invisible last night), and Kaspars Daugavins slides in for Guillaume Latendresse who tweaked something and is injured.

-Here are my thoughts on last night’s 3-1 victory over the Florida Panthers.  Here’s Scott‘s scoring chances (he had them 22-12 for Ottawa, mine were 24-6).  Here are Paul MacLean‘s thoughts:

We feel fortunate to come out with the win. We stuck to it. We didn’t get frustrated when things didn’t go our way. We found a way to get momentum back on our side. I thought we established our game in the third and that made a big difference.

Nichols takes a look at other free agent defensemen the Sens might be interested in besides KHLer Viktor Antipin, suggesting 22-year old Danny DeKeyser (21-2-8-10, whom Shawn Simpson reported they were interested in last year) and 22-year old Andrej Sustr (24-6-10-16; teammate of Sens prospect Bryce Aneloski; Tim Wharnsby linked him to Ottawa last year).  Sustr was ranked #195 in North America in 2010 by Central Scouting (#264 RLR), while DeKeyser was not ranked by anyone.  Red Line Report considered DeKeyser the top college free agent last year while Sustr was #11 (RLR’s prognostication on that score has to be taken with a grain of salt, as you can gauge by looking here).

[Just a quick update: here’s what Red Line Report said about both players last year:
Danny DeKeyser: He plays a simple, defence first, stay-at-home game. He’s not flashy at the offensive end, but moves the puck well and gets it to the right spots by making good decisions. Efficiently gets the puck out of the zone with crisp outlets. He’s physical and wins the battles down low, keeps the crease clear, and plays with a bit of a nasty edge. He’s an outstanding penalty killer who blocks a ton of shots.
Andrej Sustr: Towering puck-moving defenceman with a game-changing reach. One of the best collegiate defencemen at passing the puck – zips it hard and accurately on the tape. Smooth skater despite being so lanky. Calm and poised – never seems hurried. Sees the ice well and makes good decisions. Can play the power play and utilizes his reach to create shooting lanes and put pucks on net. Reach is also his best defensive asset and he effectively clogs up the middle and forces the puck to the perimeter. Should be more physical.
]

Bruce Garrioch chimes in on the Ben Bishop rumours:

The Edmonton Oilers have interest in backup G Ben Bishop, but the Senators aren’t ready to make a move. They want to see how Bishop performs once he starts playing — which could be as early as Friday vs. Tampa Bay — and if the market increases once Vancouver Canucks G Roberto Luongo is dealt.

-Binghamton faces Syracuse (24-10-5) tonight; the Crunch are lead by Tyler Johnson (37 points) and backstopped by Dustin Tokarski (17-6-3 2.35 .903).

Sarah Kwak reminds us that it’s the large number of powerplays being handed out that are the main engine for increased scoring in the NHL right now.  Just like the end of the last lockout the league is cutting back on the obstruction.  I wouldn’t expect it to last, but it’s worth noting.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Ottawa 3, Florida 1

The Sens stretched their winning streak to three with a convincing win over the Florida Panthers.  Although the score was slightly closer than the previous victory Ottawa was more dominant and the Panthers had fewer chances (it was the best game of their season thus far).  The Sens were down 1-0 early, but tied the game before the end of the period and never looked back.  Here’s the boxscore.

Game Notes
Guillaume Latendresse continues to be snake bitten as he fumbled the puck on a glorious 2-on-1 with Milan Michalek and (failing to get a shot) and was then stymied on a penalty shot in the third period
-Twice in the second period Craig Anderson was bailed out by his defensemen on open net chances after an initial save (by Erik Karlsson and Chris Phillips, both of whom were the best defensively among the blueliners)
-It was not a great night for Colin Greening who failed to cash in on a great chance in the first period and then lead the team in turnovers (5)
Latendresse and Michalek lead the team in scoring chances with three each

The Goals
1. Florida, Fleischmann (pp)
Jim O’Brien gets lost defensively and Anderson can’t prevent the shot from going through him
2. Phillips (Methot, Smith)
Tail end of a powerplay Phillips one-timer deflects in off a Panther
3. Karlsson (unassisted)
Creates a turnover at the blueline and blows a wrist shot top-shelf, far side
4. Spezza (Michalek, Methot)
Empty-netter

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News: January 24th

-Ottawa plays Florida (1-2-0) tonight in a re-match of their last game; Brian Campbell, Jonathan Huberdeau, and ex-Sen Alex Kovalev are tied for the lead in points (3 each), Jose Theodore is the starter (1-1-0 2.50 .937).  Here’s the NHL’s game preview.

Ken Warren thinks the Sens third line (Colin Greening-Zack Smith-Chris Neil) have been excellent so far:

The three have been invaluable through the opening two games against the Winnipeg Jets and Florida Panthers, either creating or maintaining sustained pressure inside the opposition blue-line, causing turnovers and wearing down defencemen.

That’s certainly what the line is supposed to do, but Ken must have been watching different games because to me they’ve been the least effective trio on the team.  They’ve had difficulty maintaining puck control on offense and have struggled defensively.  I think the group would be more effective with a strong puck control player inserted–time, of course, will tell.  Greening summed up what the line is supposed to do:

The biggest thing for us is try to keep it simple, keep the puck going forward. If we start going side to side, that’s when we get into trouble. We want to get cycling. We’re three big bodies. It’s fun when you’re playing down in their end.

The Raaymaker discusses the decision to send Robin Lehner down and one thing puzzled me:

Bishop undoubtedly knows that he’s in tough against both Anderson and Lehner, and realizes that he’s once again playing as much to impress other teams as to help his team. He’s a pending restricted free agent who won’t likely be re-signed by the Ottawa Senators, which means if he’s not traded mid-season his rights will almost certainly be dealt in the summer. Bishop also must realize, however, that this situation was engineered by Bryan Murray, and it’s also been handled just about perfectly by the Senators’ GM. The Senators acquired Bishop for pennies on the dollar last year, but they’re not excited to give him up at such a steep discount. It seems likely that Murray’s initial plan was to hold on to Bishop for the whole season before making a decision, but that timeline has been expedited by both Lehner‘s maturity and dominance as well as the sudden need for a top-four defenceman in light of Jared Cowen‘s season-ending injury.

So Murray planned for Alex Auld to be awful, Robin Lehner to have an off year, and Craig Anderson to slice his hand with an ice pick so that he could trade his 2013 2nd round pick for Bishop?  Given how hard it has been for the Sens to acquire 2nd round picks I don’t see that price for an impending RFA as cheap.  Otherwise I agree with his sentiments.

Scott reports that Bob McKenzie is convinced Ben Bishop is the odd-man out in Ottawa’s goaltending situation, but that Roberto Luongo is “gumming up the works” on goalie trades.  Given Bishop‘s affordability, I can’t imagine it will be that hard for Murray to move him.  Lyle Richardson takes a look at the possibility of Bishop going to the Oilers, but doesn’t believe Edmonton can afford the assets (defensemen) Ottawa wants.  This sounds plausible, although I wonder if Murray would accept a high draft pick for Bishop.  Others have speculated that because of the injury to Phoenix’s Mike Smith they might be another market (Smith‘s backup Jason LaBarbera can’t handle the load).  I think the situation will be resolved sooner than later.

Jeremy Milks was getting impatient with Jakob Silfverberg because through a few periods he didn’t think he was a fit on the top line–he was hankering for the good old days of Colin Greening.  I’m glad Jeremy found patience and I have no idea why he didn’t think there was chemistry–Silfverberg has been fine through two games.

Alan Muir thinks staged fights are helpful in the NHL because…well he doesn’t actually offer tangible reasons for it.  He says they are good for the losing team too, which makes his logic: staged fights are good because they have no impact on the outcome of the game.  Er, what?

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News: January 23rd

Robin Lehner has been sent back to Binghamton.  It’s exactly what was expected.  Bryan Murray stated the obvious:

It didn’t make any sense to have three people here and two not playing very much. We know Robin has a great future in this game, and I think for him to go play, get lots of starts, will be beneficial in the long run for him.

Lehner himself said:

It’s part of a process, and there’s politics involved. I’m happy and I’ll keep on going.

I agree with Wayne Scanlan (whose story is linked) that “politics” refers to Ben Bishop‘s one-way contract.

Kyle Turris and Patrick Wiercioch are childhood friends and talked about what connecting on their first NHL goal meant:

It was a very special moment [Turris said]. I think that’s a moment we won’t forget for a long time. To be able to play not only in the NHL together but on the same team, to be on the power play together and connect on the power play together … it was really neat. We were joking when we got back in the room at the intermission, saying that was kind of like the Burnaby Express days, when we were on the power play together, and he kind of moved the puck over to me for a one-timer. That was probably the last time, other than the training sessions in (New Westminster’s) Moody Park that we do every summer. We take thousands of those shots every summer. We work a lot on one-timers like that.

He’d be my best friend growing up [Wiercioch said]. I talk to him about almost anything. When he was in Phoenix, going through hard times, we’d call each other. Last year, when I had my (serious throat) injury he was the first one to call my girlfriend to make sure she was OK. We’ve just kept in contact over the years. It’s a relationship we haven’t lost. He called me before the news broke that he was traded. I was just on my way back from Boston getting my throat checked out by a specialist there, preparing myself for the worst. He called me and that was the best news of the day. I didn’t really care what happened that day. I just knew he was going to be here and hopefully one day I’d join him up here.

There’s little doubt that Turris‘ arrival in the organisation has helped Wiercioch, who finally did the work necessary over the summer to start filling out his frame.  I suspect that Wiercioch will stay once Lundin is healthy and it will be interesting to see how he handles an extended stay in the NHL.

Don Brennan has decided Marc Methot is already an upgrade over Filip Kuba:

Methot, a better skater than Kuba, leads the Senators with nine hits, whereas Kuba rarely used his big body for such purposes.

As we know, hits define how good a defenseman is (who wouldn’t take Andy Sutton over Nicklas Lidstrom?).  He adds that Karlsson enjoyed a Norris season playing with Kuba who received an “excess amount of credit.”  It’s not much of an argument or comparison.  They  are different kinds of players and Methot‘s track record in Columbus doesn’t match Kuba‘s career.  All this really establishes is that Methot has become one of Brennan’s favourites.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News: January 22nd; Binghamton 2, St. John’s 3

-Here’s my look at the Sens 4-0 win over Florida.  For those interesting here’s Scott‘s scoring chances chart (23/12 for Ottawa; my numbers had it 24/9).  Daniel Alfredsson talked about the Sens struggles in the third period (link below):

We got a little bit off our game in the last six or seven minutes of the third period. We knew they were going to push hard in the third, which they did. They pinched a lot more, which gave us a little bit more trouble getting the puck out of the zone. We need to be a little bit more poised in those situations, but we did a good job of boxing out and (Anderson) made that first save on every shot, so he was huge.

Jakob Silfverberg stated the obvious about playing with Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek:

They make it easy for me to play

-The oddest rumour about the Sens is the recent one from Andrey Osadchenko who claims the Sens are interested in signing KHL blueliner Viktor Antipin.  The left-handed, 5’10. 20-year old defenseman plays for Metallurg Magnitogorsk and this is his first full season with the team (40-10-10-20).  He was on the Russian silver-medal winning WJC squad and spent most of the last three seasons in the MHL (Red Line Report was the only scouting source to rank him for the 2011 draft and he was #260).  I think Scott (via the link) is right to think Sergei Gonchar is part of the reason the Sens have interest given that he played with Antipin this year.  It’s a puzzling possibility for me because the Sens don’t draft young Russians due to the difficulties in them leaving if sent to the minors.  I have a hard time imagining the Sens could lure him over without an NHL guarantee.  Antipin won’t be available until next season regardless, so if they do sign him fans won’t get a look at him until then.

-Binghamton fell 3-2 to St. John’s last night in a game I was unable to watch.  Nathan Lawson made 36 saves in the loss while Mika Zibanejad and Derek Grant provided the offence.  The B-Sens carried a 2-1 lead into the third, but were unable to hold it.  Here’s the box score and the highlights.

-Elmira crushed Reading 5-2 yesterday with Louie Caporusso and Darren Kramer picking up two points each and Dustin Gazley nabbing a single.

-Here the latest prospect update (for players with more than 10 games played I’ve indicated where they are in scoring; for blueliners they are compared to other defensemen on the team):

CHL
Cody Ceci (OHL Ottawa/Owen Sound) 47-12-32-44 (1st)
Matt Puempel (OHL Kitchener) 30-22-8-30 (1st)
Stefan Noesen (OHL Plymouth) 29-17-9-26 (8th)
Jordan Fransoo (WHL Victoria) 40-3-9-12 (2nd)
Jakub Culek (QMJHL Cape Breton) 9-4-3-7 (10th) (injured)
Jarrod Maidens (OHL Owen Sound) (injured)
Chris Driedger (WHL Calgary) 25-9-3 2.26 .921
Francois Brassard (QMJHL Quebec) 20-14-3 2.91 .900

Allsvenskan (Swe)
Mikael Wikstrand (Mora) 33-11-11-22 (1st) WJC 6-0-4-4 (1st)

KHL
Nikita Filatov (Salavat) 38-8-11-19 (t-2nd)

NCAA
Ryan Dzingel (Ohio) – 24-9-11-20 (1st)
Jeff Costello (Notre Dame) – 16-6-9-15 (5th) (injured)
Bryce Aneloski (Nebraska-Omaha) – 23-4-11-15 (2nd)
Max McCormick (Ohio) – 24-8-5-13 (3rd)
Michael Sdao (Princeton) – 18-5-4-9 (1st)
Tim Boyle (Union) – 12-0-2-2 (t-6th)

USHL
Robbie Baillargeon (Indiana/Omaha) – 36-12-15-27 (1st)

George Parros talked about the disappearance of the enforcer from the NHL:

More and more there are team like this, kind of going away from that [having an enforcer]. But for me, it doesn’t change my game plan. I still want to be an effective player for our team. But like I said, we’re a dying breed, it seems.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Ottawa 4, Florida 0

Ottawa rolled over Florida 4-0 last night in a game they dominated through two periods on the strength of a pair of Kyle Turris goals.  The Sens gave the Panthers a chance to get back into it in the third, but Craig Anderson shut the door (he made 31 saves for the win) and Ottawa salted the game away with a pair of late goals.  Here’s the boxscore.

Game Notes
Chris Neil made it two games in a row in taking a dumb penalty
Chris Phillips lead the team in turnovers
Turris and Guillaume Latendresse lead the team in scoring chances; Latendresse and Wiercioch both made beautiful set-ups for Turris‘ goals
-it was a much better performance from Erik Karlsson despite not appearing on the score sheet
Craig Anderson had a strong game, but one of the best Panther chances was a turnover he made himself in the first
Jim O’Brien scored, but could have had two as he flubbed an open net chance in the first
Zack Smith destroyed Keaton Ellerby in the game’s only fight
Jakob Silfverberg looked relieved rather than excited when he scored his first NHL goal
-I have to credit Andre Benoit for a strong game; I thought the pace of the NHL might be too much for him, but so far, so good

The Goals
1. Turris (Wiercioch, Alfredsson) (pp)
Classic backdoor feed from Wiercioch
2. Turris (Latendresse, Benoit)
Fantastic pass from Latendresse for the Turris deflection
3. O’Brien (unassisted)
Jimmy made a bad outlet pass that was too far for Erik Condra, but the Panther defender baubled the puck and O’Brien was able to slap it through the wickets of Jose Theodore
4. Silfverberg (Spezza, Michalek)
Left by himself in front Silfverberg used the Panther defender as a screen and sent a perfect shot low off the post

It wasn’t a perfect game for the Sens, but it was a much stronger win than their victory of Winnipeg.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News: January 21st

-Ottawa faces the Florida Panthers (1-0-0) tonight.  As expected Craig Anderson will get the start against the Panthers and there are no changes to the lineup.

Paul MacLean talked about the Erik Karlsson-Marc Methot pairing in their first game:

I thought him [Karlsson] and his partner (Marc Methot) were a little bit trying to do too much and force things through the course of the game, but at the same time they still played well enough for us to win the game and they were a big part of it. But they can play better.

Varada reminds us that the primary comparable for Kyle Turris is Vladimir Tarasenko.  The logic goes that Ottawa traded their 2010 first round pick for David Rundblad and the Blues picked Tarasenko–the Sens swapped Rundblad for Turis, ergo that’s ultimately who was exchanged for whom.  Varada says Ottawa “might not have” picked the Russian, but we know for a fact that they wouldn’t (for the life of me I can’t find the quote, but Murray said the Sens wouldn’t have drafted the player St. Louis did).  That’s irrelevant when you look at who wins a trade, but it can’t truly be assessed until a few more years have passed.

-Binghamton plays St. John’s (17-20-3) tonight; the IceCaps are lead by Jason Jaffrey (22 points) and backstopped by Eddie Pasquale (10-14-2 2.55 .917).

This is the kind of thing Ben Blood needs to do more to be an AHL player.

-I wish The 6th Sens would include summaries of their pod casts–at least covering whatever salient points were discussed.

Mark Parisi has the week’s (er, game’s) ups and downs.  I can’t really see trends in one game, so I won’t comment on his list.

-Elmira is playing Reading (28-9-4) this afternoon.  Reading is lead by former B-Sen Yannick Tifu (42 points) and backstopped by Phillipp Grubauer (19-5-1 2.30 .912).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News: January 20th; Binghamton 2, Bridgeport 4

Paul MacLean talked about last night’s win:

I thought the game was a little bit like a dog’s breakfast in the first and second period. I thought in the third period we were able to get control of the game and establish a bit more of our game. I thought the best part of the game for us was the third period. I thought (Anderson) was very good. He brought his buddies (the posts) with him in the first period. For the most part, I thought our penalty killers did a nice job.

Erik Karlsson said:

I didn’t feel really well out there. I didn’t feel really great. It’s nice to contribute. It’s nice to get a goal on the power play. (That) is good for us. Hopefully, we can build on this. It probably wasn’t the best played game from anyone. But, hopefully, we can get the feeling back as quick as possible.

-Here are my thoughts on last night’s game.

-I’ve always tracked scoring chances on my own, but with another take check out Scott‘s.

Marc Cheverie lost his first AHL game this year as Binghamton fell 4-2 to the Sound Tigers.  Cole Schneider and Mika Zibanejad provided the goals.  Here’s the box score.

-An undermanned Elmira was crushed by Reading 6-1 last night; no B-Sen signees had points.  Both Artem Demkov and defenseman Tyler Miller were suspended by the team prior to the game (I’d guess for curfew issues).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Ottawa 4, Winnipeg 1

Ottawa opened the season with a convincing 4-1 over the Jets.  Craig Anderson was solid (he made 27 saves in the win, five of which were of the big variety), the team had four different scorers and outside of Winnipeg’s opening goal looked good on the penalty-killing.  Here’s the boxscore.

Game Notes
-Guillaume Latendresse took two dumb penalties in the game (of the four ill-advised penalties taken by the Sens; Chris Neil and Milan Michalek took the others), in an inauspicious debut.  Latendresse‘s timing was clearly off, as all of his opportunities were thwarted by hesitation in taking the shot.
-I thought the Greening-Smith-Neil line was the worst defensively, although they did improve a little towards the end of the game.
-it wasn’t a great game defensively from Erik Karlsson (he lead the team in turnovers), but it’s hard to argue with a three-point night.
-defensively Gonchar-Phillips were excellent
Benoit saved a goal, which more than makes up for a bad turnover in the third period.
Jakob Silfverberg played well on the top-line.
-the Sens did a good job driving the net; the fourth line in particular tried to cash in on rebounds, but weren’t rewarded

The Goals
1. Win, Byfugliein (pp) (Enstrom, Ladd)
A bullet shot far side
2. Ott, Michalek (Wiercioch)
Wiercioch bats a turnover at the blueline forward and an untouched Michalek swats it between Pavelec‘s legs
3. Ott, Neil (Karlsson, Greening)
Goes to the net and is rewarded with a Karlsson rebound
4. Ott, Karlsson (pp) (Gonchar)
Gonchar picks up a weak clear along the boards and Karlsson pounds a one-timer off the Jets defenseman
5. Ott, Turris (Methot, Karlsson)
After defending a Jets rush Methot outlets to Turris whose shot deflects off a Jets blueliner and in

All in all a good opening game and hopefully the team can carry the momentum forward.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News: January 19th; Binghamton 4, Toronto 2

Paul MacLean talked about Jakob Silfverberg:

One thing about Jakob, he’s a very consistent player. Coming here, to be the best player in Sweden, you have to be a good player, so he’s a consistent player there. He’s a little bit older than most rookies, so coming here, the lockout helped him by going to Binghamton and being able to get adjusted to the small rink. And Binghamton’s rink is even smaller than most NHL rinks, so he’s got that adjustment out of the way. We feel that he’s going to able to come in and contribute. Our expectations for him are to just be himself, get himself comfortable, get playing in the league and we feel with the guys that he’s with, he’s going to contribute for us offensively. But we’re not depending on him to have to come in and do everything for us. We have a pretty good veteran group with Jason, Alfie and Milan that are expected to lead that thing offensively, so we just want him to come in and contribute and continue to work hard.

MacLean also referred to the blueline without saying anything new, but Nichols (same link) looks at the stats of the Phillips-Gonchar pairing from last season:

As I tweeted out earlier today, Gonchar actually had better on the surface numbers while playing with Chris Phillips last season at even strength than Jared Cowen. Given these differentials in goals for versus goals against while on the ice, one would assume that this pairing was relatively effective. Delving a little deeper into the sabermetric analysis, I found that this Phillips/Gonchar pairing actually got killed in the puck possession game. Gonchar was actually a more complete defenceman playing with Cowen and it’s safe to assume that the positive Goals For to Goals Against ratio that Sarge experienced with Phillips is left to random chance and good fortune.

Neither player has good footspeed and Gonchar can’t bail Phillips out on his mental errors the way other players can.  Still, given his choices I think MacLean has to start with the combination.

MacLean then talked about his third and fourth lines:

The bottom six has got some good depth. They have a lot of different abilities. They can play physical. They can play with the puck. They can hang onto pucks. They can contribute offensively; they’re not just out there just to kill the clock until we can get the other guys back out there, the expectation is that they can come  out and play. I think what they really allow us to do is push the pace of the game because of their abilities to skate and their conditioning level. We should be able to keep a pretty good pace to our game and those guys are expected to contribute as well.

Nichols has concerns over the Greening-Smith-Neil line’s puck possession numbers (nothing surprising in that as none of its members are known for distributing or carrying the puck), but I see these lines as very fluid–the pieces can be moved around.

-Last night I posed my predictions for the Sens this season.  You can see how my predictions faired last year.

James wisely dismisses the goaltender controversy talk, but I think he mistakes why Robin Lehner is serving as a backup tonight: it’s essentially a pat on the back for his great AHL-season.  Soon enough, assuming Craig Anderson avoids late night ice picking incidents, Lehner will be back in Binghamton and Bishop will be backing-up.

-Various folk predict the result of tonight’s game.

-Binghamton defeated Toronto 4-2 last night that featured an undisciplined B-Sen squad.  Nathan Lawson made 36 saves for the win while Stephane Da Costa, Mika Zibanejad, Mike Hoffman, and Derek Grant (empty-net) provided the offense.  Here’s the box score and the highlights.

-Binghamton faces Bridgeport (18-16-4) tonight; the Sound Tigers are lead by Nino Niederreiter (36 points) and backstopped by Kevin Poulin (11-8-2 3.18 .905).

-Elmira lost 8-5 to Trenton last night, with Louie Caporusso and Dustin Gazley picking up two points each.

Wade Redden found a home in St. Louis and I’ll take his performance as a litmus test for the league.  If a broken down, unmotivated Redden can play useful minutes for the Blues than the league has slowed down and obstruction is beginning to rule the day again.  If, as I’d expect, Redden is awful, then there’s hope that the league is moving in the right direction.

Ken Campbell believes the Devils re-signing of Travis Zajac and the Caps agreeing to let Alex Ovechkin play in the Olympics means the players are winning the new CBA.  Uh…what?  Ovechkin (just like the NHL) was going to go anyway, so why create a problem?  And were the Devils not supposed to sign Zajac long term after they lost Parise?  Ken needs to switch to decaf before he writes a column.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)